Detecting deceit via analyses of verbal and nonverbal behavior in children and adults

Aldert Vrij, Lucy Akehurst, Stavroula Soukara, Ray Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This experiment examined children's and undergraduates' verbal and nonverbal deceptive behavior, and the extent to which their truths and lies could be correctly classified by paying attention to these responses. Participants (N = 196) aged 5-6, 10-11, and 14-15, as well as university undergraduates, participated in an erasing the blackboard event, and told the truth or lied, about the event afterwards. Nonverbal and verbal responses were coded, the latter with Criteria-Based Content Analysis and Reality Monitoring. Although children and undergraduates demonstrated different behaviors (for example, the children obtained lower CBCA scores and made more movements), actual cues to deceit were remarkably similar across different age groups (for example, both 5-6-year-olds and undergraduates obtained lower CBCA scores and made fewer movements while lying). A combination of verbal and nonverbal lie detection methods resulted in more correct classifications of liars and truth tellers than the verbal and nonverbal lie detection methods individually, with the combined method obtaining hit rates as high as 88%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-41
Number of pages34
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

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